Tuesday, February 08, 2022

No forcible land takeover for second Kolkata airport, says CM Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday made it loud and clear that her government will not acquire land "forcibly" for setting up a second airport in Kolkata.

"We are not going to forcibly acquire 1,000 acres for setting up the airport. It would mean razing a row of buildings and evicting settlements," the CM said at Kolkata airport on Monday before leaving for Lucknow.

Banerjee was responding to Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia's comment the day before that the Centre had planned a second Kolkata airport but could not implement the plan because Bengal didn't provide land for it.

The CM said her government had already arranged land for a third taxiway at Kolkata airport to address the growing air traffic. "We have arranged for a third runway at Kolkata airport. We have set up an airport at Andal. The airports in the districts are also in place. Let them arrange for more flights there," she said.

Scindia said on Sunday he had been seeking a dialogue with the Bengal CM over the last six months as the existing Kolkata airport was running at maximum capacity.

The second terminal was proposed within 30 km from Kolkata airport. The state government had also conducted a survey and chose Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, adjacent to Rajarhat, as a possible site. However, problems arose as parts of Bhangar had undergone rapid urbanization, requiring a huge displacement for acquiring land there. The government had in 2017 faced stiff resistance from locals while giving the right of way to the Bhangar power grid project.

08/02/22 Debasis Konar/Times of India

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